ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

Busting 5 Myths (Secrets) of Successful Selling

Posted by Tony Cole on Mon, Jun 05, 2017

Ok, let’s start here - there are no secrets!  The Internet and the digital world have pretty much eliminated ignorance and secrets to success in sales... and about how to do almost anything else.  All you need is a mobile device (could even be a watch) with access to the internet and you can find just about anything you want to know.

car-duct-tape.png

Myth Busters used to be one of my favorite shows.  I searched google to find the Discovery Channel episode about lifting a car with duck tape. Here is the link (but, unfortunately, you won’t get the complete show).

With facts and strategies being so readily available, why do most salespeople (about 80%) still struggle to be successful? A lot of it has to do with beliefs and myths. What about you? Do you accept any outdated myths as facts? Since I short-changed you a little on the video, I will share a list of some other common myths:

  1. People only use 10% of their brains
  2. There is a dark side of the moon – Pink Floyd led us astray (Here you go, rockers!)
  3. Behavior is affected by the full moon
  4. Sugar makes children hyperactive
  5. Lightning never strikes the same place twice

THE BEST METHOD - GET TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

As many of you know, Anthony Cole Training Group has specialized in providing specialized sales growth solutions for banking, investment advisory and insurance.  Primarily, those growth solutions include:

  1. Hiring better salespeople
  2. Executing an effective sales process
  3. Sales Management certification

During our years of developing and delivering content to hundreds of sales organizations, we have used the #1 sales assessment tool on the planet.  Not only is the accuracy of the sales inventory assessment tool unbelievable, but the Sales Effectiveness and Impact Analysis has been game changer for every one of the clients in our niche:

“The Sales Person Skills Assessment Tool has enabled us to discover some interesting information about our sales process, current sales capabilities as well as potential opportunities for growth and improvement in sales competencies. This assessment tool has also changed how we go about hiring for our sales force.”

President & CEO
F&M Trust

One of the most interesting segments revealed in the assessments is about personal beliefs.  Each of us has personal beliefs that dictates our behaviors and thus determines our outcomes.  This holds true for all areas - sales, sales management and sales leadership.  Whether aware or not, we all have beliefs about what we do that impacts our opportunity for success. 

5 MYTHS MOST SALESPEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE

Here are the beliefs that many salespeople hold near and dear to their hearts that simply are not true:

  1. People buy from people they like – Now, you may have purchased something from someone that you liked, but the “liking” didn’t drive your decision. What drove your decision was your confidence and trust in the person, the product and the company behind the product.
  2. People make buying decisions based on price – Staying with you and your purchasing habits for a second, let’s talk automobiles. According to autobyel.com, the cheapest car available today is the Hyundai Accent SE with a MSRP $15,580.00.  If you own one, then you are a rare breed.  The volume of sales of this vehicle in 2016 was only .38% of all vehicles sold in the U.S.  If people simply bought on lowest price, this would not be the case.
  3. Closing skills are the most important – This might be surprising to you, but in the last three studies I personally conducted in the banking segment, the top 33% of bankers, wealth managers and private bankers severely lack closing skills still led their teams in sales.
  4. The customer is always right – Actually, the customer is rarely They are more right today than they USED to be when it comes to product knowledge, availability, options and pricing as a result of information available on the Internet; but to assume they are right about everything is just SO wrong. However, this in and of itself is not the problem. The problem is this: if salespeople believe this, then they will never be gutsy enough to execute the challenger sale, the value-based selling system, the SPIN System or our Effective Selling System.
  5. Prospects are honest – 95% of respondents in all of our studies believe prospects are honest. That is… until we conduct our first meeting with our clients and go through the process that buyers to go through when executing their buying process. g.  If a prospect was completely honest, they would tell the insurance agent who just cold-called them that they just got a renewal that they think is too high and they want some competitive bids to keep the incumbent honest.  We all know that doesn’t happen!

TRAINING ALONE DOES NOT GET LASTING RESULTS

Time and again, companies spend money on sales training to introduce them to a new…

  • sales language
  • sales approach
  • prospecting method
  • time management process
  • cross-selling strategy

What happens is that the company spends a lot of time, money and effort and yet, at the end of the event or training, they cannot point to any discernable difference in outcomes.  Behaviors stay the same, problems that existed before are still there, effort changes for a while but soon returns to pre-training levels and salespeople still blame the economy, the company or the competition for lack of success.

Top people still are performing at the top, people in the middle of your sales bell curve are still “at leasters” and your bottom 20% are not performing any better than the bottom 20% you had the year before.  Why?  Because the root problems associated with beliefs were never addressed.

I grew up on a farm.  I know about planting things and making them grow, and if it’s a fruit tree or bush (blueberries), I know that there is a time to harvest.  What I also know is that you can buy the best plants and trees in the world, but if you don’t take care of the root system with good soil, fertilizer and water, they will not produce.

GIVE ME A CALL - I WILL HELP

For more about growing blueberries, peaches and salespeople, call me! This is your call to action to get more productivity out of yourself or your sales team, so call me NOW at 513.791.3458.

Additional Resources

  • # 1 Sales Assessment in the world
  • Identify Your Systems and Processes – The Sales Effectiveness and Impact Analysis Sample (SEIA)
  • How do my salespeople compare to industry standards – Get 3 people on your team (the best three that do the right things, have the right fit and blow out their numbers consistently) to take the sales skills inventory assessment and compare. Be prepared to take a call from us, discuss the results and answer the question: Do you want our help?

 Get a 14-DAY FREE TRIAL of ACTG's Online Sales Learning Center

Topics: getting consistent sales performance, managing salespeople, assessing sales talent, close more sales

What is Your Sales Team's Motivation?

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, May 19, 2017

QUESTIONS THAT COMPANIES NEED TO ANSWER

As many of you know, we use the Objective Management Group's (OMG) assessment to evaluate every organization that we do sales and sales management training, coaching and consulting for.  The process helps us (and helps our clients) determine with great accuracy the answers to these 4 questions:       

  1. Can we be more effective (sell more, more quickly at better margins)?
  2. How much more effective could we be?
  3. What would it take?
  4. How long would it take?

Answering these four questions requires the ability to uncover at least two important contributors to improved effectiveness:

  1. Their “will” to improve in selling and sales management
  2. Their ability (sales and sales management DNA)

6 FACTORS THAT DETERMINE THE WILL TO SELL

There are 6 known contributing factors that OMG uses to determine “will to sell”  (click here for a review of the OMG pre-hire assessment tool).

  1. Desire to succeed in selling
  2. Commitment to succeed in selling
  3. Motivation
  4. Outlook
  5. Responsibility
  6. Enjoyment of selling

A CONSISTENTLY RECURRING QUESTION

I don't believe there is a way to effectively rank those factors in terms of relevant importance.  Having used the tool and delivered results to dozens of companies and hundreds of people, my experience is that these 6 work together to form a puzzle that gives you an overall picture of someone’s “will to sell”.  In this article, however, I want to focus on motivation because, over and over again, when attending my workshops, attendees consistently the question, “How do I motivate or keep my people motivated?”

FINDING INSPIRATION

I was getting ready to work out at my club the other day and, when walking to the men’s locker room, I stopped and looked at this sign.  Now, I’ve seen this sign literally hundreds of times and have read it dozens of times. I have always found it interesting and a bit inspiring. 

i-am-pic.png

I can imagine being a young tennis player who has big dreams of playing tennis on a large stage someday.  And that young person might take a photo of this poster and put it on their phone, locker room, door or wall at home.  They might even post it to social media – Facebook. Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.

It all depends on that person’s motivation.

This person could be driven by pride, satisfaction, mastery, achievement, competition, enjoyment or recognition.  They could even be motivated by the love of winning or that hate of losing. They might just be trying to prove the naysayers wrong!

ARE YOU MOTIVATED?

What motivates you?  If you are a manager, what is motivating your people?  If you are not motivated to:

  • Be more effective
  • Be more successful
  • Compete to be the best
  • Sell more to make your lifestyle dreams a reality
  • Make sure your children receive an education without the debt

I have to ask: Why?

 

ALL ENCOMPASSING - MOTIVATION INVOLVES EVERYTHING

Let me address two things:

  • Personal motivation
  • Motivation of others

My experience – my own true, personal experience - about motivation is that when you desire something greatly in your heart, then you will live and breath the desire to make the dream a reality.  Many of you know I played football at UConn.  I always considered myself blessed beyond reason to have had the opportunity to make my dream a reality.  But blessed does not stand alone as the only contributing factor for the scholarship.  Yes, I had some God-given talents (nature), but I also had some external factors (nurture) that contributed to my success.  Those factors were Mom and Dad and the attitudes they instilled in me regarding hard work, anything is possible, don’t give up, success requires commitment.  I learned early on that, if you really want to accomplish something great in your life, you must be willing to give up some things to get where you want to go.

  • When my classmates were going to Lee’s house to party after a game, I did not.
  • I hated vegetables, but my dad told me he would tell Coach Cacia I wasn’t eating right – I wasn’t going to let that happen.
  • At the end of a long day – 12 hours – working on the farm, I still ran my miles and lifted weights.
  • When I got beat on a certain play during practice, I would make that person pay the price on the next play.
  • I ran sprints every day at the end of practice.
  • I played hurt.
  • I studied and got the grades needed to get into college.
  • I did all of those things for 13 years.

MY STARTLING WAKE-UP CALL

On the other side of that coin are the years between 1998 and 2003.  Those 5 years are lost to me because of the event of our son's (Anthony) cardiac arrest and subsequent severe brain injury.  I could think of nothing but his full recovery to health.  Nothing else mattered and it showed up in the shrinking of our business.  One day, Linda walked into the office and said, “We need to talk.”  I thought it had something to do with Anthony.  Instead, she asked, “Are you ever going to start working again?”

Man, did that piss me off!

But, I started to work again because I had new motivation.  And that is my point.  I believe most people go through stages of motivation.  The stages probably look like the side view of a roller coaster – lots of ups and downs.  If you find yourself in the down, don’t assume that you will go back up.  You may be at the end of the ride.  If you are there, you need to find new and different reasons to get back in the seat and ride to the top.

THE REAL DEAL – MOTIVATION IS PERSONAL

When I answer the question - How do I motivate my people? - for workshop attendees, I tell them, “You cannot motivate them.  Motivation is an inside-out job and they have to come to the table with their own motivation.  The best you can do is create an environment where people want to come and they want to be motivated and excited because they have personal reasons to be successful.”

I remember having a discussion with Tom. Tom was a COO of a large insurance holding company and we were talking about his next day’s presentation to the troops.  He told me about his agenda and the key points in the speech.  One of the topics was shareholder value.  When he finished, I asked permission to ask a question and then make a comment.  “Permission granted,” Tom said.

I asked, “How many people in the audience are shareholders?” One, he said.

I then said, “Tom, with all due respect, those people don’t give a rat’s #@%  about shareholder value. What they care about is having enough money to retire, pay for a wedding, have the dream vacation, pay for college, and eliminate debt.  Talk to them about how the company will support their efforts to make those things happen and then you will have an audience who will listen and respond.”

THESE 3 FAILS = NO MOTIVATION

The problem, in many cases, is that the sales executive in charge of getting more out of the sales team has no idea what motivates those people on the team.  Without knowing that, how could you possibly create a motivated environment?

While assessing numerous organizations, we have found three things that hinder the motivation and success of the sales team: 1) 90% of the sales managers don’t believe they need to know what motivates their sales people.  2) 25% of the sales managers are not motivated to be successful in the role of sales manager and 3) Virtually 100% of the salespeople lack personal goals, lack a personal goal plan and fail to have a process in place to track if they are achieving goals.

How could you possibly have a motivated sales team?

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE:

Motivation Quotes in Unlikely Places – Dave Kurlan

Pavarotti and Motivation – Music and Self Motivation

Robert De Niro Inspiring Speech at NYU School for The Arts - Youtube

Motivation – What Would You Attempt If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

DOWNLOAD FREE eBook -  How to Hire Advisors Who Will Sell More

 

Topics: Motivational, getting consistent sales performance, predictable sales growth, developing sales talent

Is Motivating Salespeople What It Takes To Drive Sales Results?

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Apr 28, 2017

tony_boy_run.jpg

I have done many workshops over the years and, normally, in the very beginning, I ask:  What is it that you want to leave here with that would make this a great investment of your time?  One of the top 3 answers in every situation is the question:  How do I motivate or keep my sales team motivated? (Dan Pink – Ted Talk on Motivation – a great 18 minute investment!)

IT HAS TO START INSIDE

My response 100% of the time is this: “You cannot motivate your sales team.  All you can do is recruit motivated people or create an environment where they motivate themselves.”  I then share with them what I heard Mark Victor Hansen say many years ago at the Cincinnati Life Underwriters Annual Meeting: “Motivation is an inside-out job.”  In other words, it’s something that has to start inside of someone; you cannot motivate them from the outside.  I believed that then and I still believe it now.

IT HAS TO BE THERE FROM THE BEGINNING

As some of you know or may recall, I grew up on a blueberry farm in the blueberry capital of the world, Hammonton, NJ.  My dad, Ray, was the foreman on the farm.  I’m sure that if dad hadn’t been a foreman, he would have been a drill sergeant.  Does that give you a picture of the type of guy my dad was?  Dad was a no B.S. ”you want to make more money then work more hours, when all else fails hard work works” kind of guy.

You may also recall that I graduated from the University of Connecticut where I played varsity football on a full scholarship.  Working towards earning my scholarship didn’t start when I entered high school in the 9th grade.  It didn’t start my junior year when I earned the starting position of center.  It didn’t start when I was named co-captain along with Patrick Gazzara my senior year.  No, I started earning the scholarship when I was 9 years old.

That summer of 1963 was uneventful until I made the comment to my dad that I’d like to play football.  He asked me why? I said, “It looks like fun.”  He asked, “Are you sure?” and, without hesitation, I replied, “Sure.”  He pressed on saying, “It’s going to be hard.”  I said, “Okay.”  Finally, he said, “I’ll get you the name of the coach, Matt Gazzara (not related to Patrick). You call him and tell him you want to play.”  I said okay.

[Jumping ahead to the end of my first practice] I came off the field and dad asked me, “What did you think?”  I said, “I loved it - I'm going to go to college someday and play football!”  He asked me, “Are you sure?” He went on to tell me that college football players are in great shape, so I would have to work hard to be in great shape.  I said, “Okay.” 

I took off my helmet. He helped me take off my practice jersey and shoulder pads and then said, “Start running laps around the field.”  I asked, “How many?” He just said, “I’ll tell you when to stop.”

I stopped 13 years later when I finished my career on the field of Holy Cross where we had just lost the game 40 to 41.  I cried like a baby because I knew I’d never again played the game that I loved so much.

That is internal motivation.  I didn’t know about scholarships when I was 9.  I hadn’t thought about the education I would get.  I had no idea that I’d get a chance to fly on an airplane for the first time when I was 18.  I didn’t know I’d get to travel along the Middle Atlantic and New England region visiting places like Bangor, Maine and The Military Academy in Annapolis.  All I knew was I wanted to play football and I was willing to do everything possible to succeed.

DOES YOUR TEAM HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

  • Do you have that?
  • Do you have people – salespeople - on your team that have that?
  • When you think about all the things you’ve tried to motivate people, has anything REALLY had a long-term impact on changing behavior, improving skills or significantly moving the results needle?
  • When you look at performance, how many people do you have that are just “plug and play” - the few you know you can count on day in and day out to do the things they need to do and you know they will perform?
  • When you look at those that don’t perform, how fatigued are you just thinking about the effort you have to put in just to get them to come to meetings on time, use your CRM, and do the activity to get the results?

IS IT EXTERNAL OR INTERNAL?

What we have learned over the last several years by assessing sales organizations using the Objective Management Group Sales Effectiveness and Impact Analysis is that motivation has changed. There was a time when salespeople were primarily externally motivated, but now there is data that tells us the primary motivation of salespeople is internal!  Let me show you: 

motiv-table1.png
Table 1

This table represents the top ten performers in a recent assessment of 100 sales people in the financial services/banking industry.  These findings are consistent with all assessments done in this space over the last 3 years.  By the numbers:

  • 8 of 10 are motivated by winning
  • 9 of ten are motivated by self-rewarding performance
  • All ten succeed and are motivated when self-pressure is applied
  • 9 of the 10 successfully self-manage
  • Competition against themselves or others is evenly split 50/50
  • Self-satisfaction motivation has a slight edge 60/40

NOW, here are the bottom 10 findings: 

motiv-table2.png
Table 2

SO, IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS...

So, after looking at the evidence, let's go back to our original question – Is motivating salespeople what it really takes to drive sales results?

NOPE!

Additional Resources:
How do I get this information for my sales team? LINK

DOWNLOAD FREE eBook -  How to Hire Advisors Who Will Sell More

Topics: close more sales, motivating salespeople, getting consistent sales performance, effective sales management

    Follow #ACTG

     

    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

    Subscribe Here

    Most Read

    Recent Blogs